What Should I Put Between My Pavers?

Many homeowners struggle with what to put between their paving stones. Improper installation can lead to shifting pavers, staining, ineffective draining, and other problems that can persist throughout the years. So what should you put between your pavers? Read on below to find out!

What should I put between my pavers?

Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute

If you’re new to the subject, you may not have heard of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, or the ICPI. This organization sets out best practices for homeowners installing pavers for the first, or subsequent, time, and even offers free guides on its website. The ICPI offers the techniques you’ll need to prep your pavers to last a lifetime.

American Society for Testing and Materials

Similar to the ICPI, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) sets out the standards for a variety of building and landscape construction materials, including pavers. You’ll need materials that meet ASTM guidelines to achieve the best results possible.

Method #1: Compacted Aggregate Base

For our first method, we’ll focus on the compacted aggregate base. This technique uses concrete sand bedding on top of a compacted aggregate or stone base. Installers often use “Polysand” products, which are made of a graded masonry sand mixed with a water-activated polymer blend. This allows it to harden in the joint but not so stiffly that freeze-thaw cycles will crack it.

Alternatively, you may wish to use an ASTM-grade masonry sand with a liquid joint stabilizer. Liquid stabilizers are made with a paver sealer that will seal the pavers and protect them from the weather. They will also stabilize the sand in the paver joints and keep it from washing out over time. This can be a difficult method to apply, but it works well if performed correctly.

Method #2: Free-Draining Style

The “open grade” or “free draining” style of installation is rapidly gaining in popularity across the United States. In this technique, installers place a fine stone-style bedding course under the pavers with a larger stone-base material. This allows surface water to pass through the joints of the pavers and into a sub-surface draining area that will transport standing water away from the patio. 

In this method, the joint material you choose will be critical to achieving an effective joint interlock, which keeps the pavers from shifting and moving over time.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the method you choose to secure and install your pavers, make absolutely sure that you follow ICPI guidance and standards, as well as the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the materials you’ve selected.

Proper paver installation is difficult and delicate work. But, done correctly, it can help lay the foundation for an immovable and immaculate patio or surface that will stand the test of time.

If you’re not sure if you’re up to the task yourself, don’t hesitate to give our designers and installers at EarthCraft a call. We’d love to give you a hand with whatever you might need and craft a custom solution just for you.